The lasting impact of First-Year Seminars with Professors Darren Glass and Kathy Cain

In Episode 4, Glass, Cain, and two first-year students—Katherine Schmitz ’23 and Demaro Ricketts ’23—highlight the innovative nature, purpose, and lasting impact of the College’s First-Year Seminar program.

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Show Notes

First year seminar with students sitting at their desks

In Episode 4 of Conversations Beneath the Cupola, podcast host, Gettysburg College President Robert W. Iuliano, is joined by four members of the Gettysburg College community—Director of First-Year Seminars and Alumni Prof. of Mathematics Darren Glass, Psychology Prof. Kathy Cain, and first-year students Katherine Schmitz ’23 and Demaro Ricketts ’23. Each guest highlights the innovative nature, purpose, and lasting impact of the College’s First-Year Seminar program through their unique lens.

Iuliano begins the podcast by asking Glass to discuss the history of First-Year Seminars at Gettysburg College. The program has gone through several iterations over the years, but Glass explains that its current form is designed to empower faculty members to pursue First-Year Seminar topics that align with both their own personal and professional interests, and the interests of students. Seminar topics include everything from video games as culture and the philosophy of monsters, to Italian food, but at their core, Glass says that each class provides students with the fundamental knowledge and skills they need to thrive at Gettysburg College.

Continuing the conversation on First-Year Seminars, Cain shares the personal experience that led her to develop her seminar, which explores immigration, identity, and development through a philosophical perspective. More so, she chose the topic of immigration and identity because it encourages students to be open minded, engage in conversation, and find common ground with their peers who might have different opinions and political views than they do.

Later in the episode, Schmitz and Ricketts, who both took Cain’s course in the fall, share with Iuliano what drew them toward selecting this particular First-Year Seminar. Further reflecting on their First-Year Seminar experience, Schmitz and Ricketts discuss their biggest takeaways, which include developing a close-knit community with their peers, finding their voice in the classroom, and learning from difference. Their final thoughts are advice to the upcoming class of first-year students.

The episode concludes with an anecdotal “Slice of Life” told through the president’s perspective. Iuliano briefly talks about the annual Support Staff Dinner that the College held in January, which celebrated the many quiet contributions to the campus that make everything we do here possible.

Guests featured in this episode

Darren Glass, Alumni Prof. of Mathematics and Director of the College’s First-Year Seminar program.

Kathy Cain, Psychology Prof. who teaches the first-year seminar class “Crossing Borders: Immigration, Identity, and Development.”

Students: Katherine Schmitz ’23 and Demaro Ricketts ’23